Article post by Travis Jamison
The Buyer’s Journey: How Your Website Can Make an Impact on Early-Stage Visitors
People don’t (usually) shop by making snap judgments. Instead, they move through several phases of the buyer’s journey — from defining their pain points to identifying potential solutions to evaluating their options and, finally, making a purchase decision.
For businesses looking to attract and convert their target audience, understanding the buyer’s journey — and its stages — is essential. After all, optimizing your marketing strategies for one of the four phases of the sales process allows you to maximize your ROI. However, ensuring that your website appeals to prospects in different stages of the customer journey also makes it easier for you to leave a positive impression on prospects and increases their chances of converting.
But how do you make an impact on early-stage visitors? Well, when targeting prospects in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, your goals should include the following activities:
- Generating visibility for your website and digital presence — maximizing your brand’s reach.
- Building awareness of your brand — ensuring that people in your target audience know about your solutions.
- Positioning your business as a likable and trustworthy entity to ensure consumers are ready to invest in your products/services.
- Creating an association between your product and your target audience’s needs — ensuring your offer is the first thing people think of when encountering a specific pain point.
By strategically investing in your website, you can make it more successful at wowing the segment of your audience in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. So, without further ado, here are the seven web-optimization tactics you must implement to grab your audience’s attention and leave a positive first impression.
Pay Attention to SEO
One of the first steps towards ensuring your site appeals to customers in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey is search engine optimization.
Ultimately, no matter how hard you try, you won’t get far without your pages appearing on SERPs. And knowing that 55% of consumers start their buying process on Google (as well as understanding that only 0.63% of Google searchers click on a result from the second page), your site must be fully optimized to rank as high as possible.
Fortunately, boosting your brand’s visibility and winning organic traffic is an attainable goal. All you need to do is adhere to SEO best practices:
- Research and target relevant keywords to ensure your landing and content pages appear when your target audience conducts a Google search.
- Optimize for search intent. In the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, answer web visitors’ questions, equip them with valuable information, and gently introduce them to the existence of your solutions.
- Enhance your site’s UX. In addition to optimizing the web design to allow easy use, pay attention to load speed, responsiveness, and site structure.
- Optimize images for SEO, as this can drive additional organic traffic to your website.
- Invest in high-quality content, do your best to build topical authority, and add internal links to relevant pages to encourage longer sessions on your site.
- Build backlinks from high domain authority sites, as this will positively impact your site’s ranking and drive additional traffic.
Associate Your Brand with Credible Industry Voices
Your main objective when targeting early-stage visitors is to build awareness for your brand. However, getting consumers to invest in your offer, in this day and age, requires a highly trustworthy reputation.
Research from Adobe shows that consumers who trust brands make more purchases (71%), recommend the business to friends (61%), and remain more loyal (41%). But the thing is, earning that trust isn’t easy.
Yes, some credibility-enhancing web design practices can be helpful. Nonetheless, you can get far better results — especially in the awareness stage of the customer journey — by associating your business with industry voices your audience already trusts.
According to a study conducted by Matter Communications, 69% of people trust influencers and peers more than information coming directly from brands. Edelman also discovered that younger generations hold scientists in high regard, with 66% of buyers saying they are the most credible source of information regarding brands and products.
With this in mind, you must explore marketing strategies to position your business as exceptionally trustworthy. An excellent way to do this is to allow guest posting on your site or collaborate with industry experts who’ll draw awareness-stage consumers’ attention to your brand’s solutions.
If you check out Trustshoring, you’ll see that this business produces and publishes a podcast, regularly hosting successful CEOs. What’s great about this brand’s approach to wowing early-stage buyers is that the exposure to Trustshoring’s services happens gradually. Prospects first discover the content, then they recognize its value, and finally, when their need for remote software developers arises, they already have high regard for Trustshoring as a credible brand they’d be thrilled to work with.
Get Early-Stage Leads into Your Email Marketing Funnel
Email is one of the best distribution channels for transforming leads into loyal customers. Seeing that awareness-stage web visitors still aren’t ready to purchase (they’re just looking for information), getting them to sign up for your newsletter can be an excellent opportunity to ensure they continue engaging with your business.
Of course, getting people to give you their email contact can be a challenge — especially as most internet users have expressed privacy concerns in the past. Nonetheless, if you can offer web visitors something valuable in exchange for their email contact, you can successfully populate your email list with qualified leads.
When adopting this strategy, remember that the key to capturing leads is being detailed and specific with your subscription incentive. Describe how early-stage visitors will benefit from your downloadable content. And make sure they understand that your emails will deliver more of the same value.
A great example of a business using this strategy to capture awareness-stage leads comes from eTraining. On its homepage, this brand invites first-time visitors to sign up for its monthly newsletter. In return, it promises an insightful 110-page OSHA manual — a resource all US-based companies will benefit from.
Be Incredibly Clear About Your Product and Its Value to Customers
With the primary goal of early-stage marketing (and website optimization) being the process of building brand awareness and product understanding, your site must be fully equipped to help your visitors comprehend what you do.
Yes, buyers in the first stage of the customer journey (usually) aren’t ready for a conversion. However, you should still focus on making it easy for them to find out what you do and clarifying why your solutions should matter to them. By doing this, you’ll prepare first-time visitors for the later stages of the sales funnel. But more importantly, by ensuring that you’re clear about your product, you’ll guarantee that your target audience associates your solution with value, which will inevitably make them more likely to convert down the line.
For a great example of how you can do this, check out Baselang. In offering a language-learning service that prioritizes the immersion method, this brand heavily emphasizes that it helps students learn Spanish more quickly than alternative solutions. However, instead of just stating this as a sales proposition, Baselang features an excellent explainer video on its homepage. There are several reasons why this approach works:
- Video is super-effective at aiding product understanding, with 96% of marketers saying it has helped them achieve this goal in 2022.
- The people in the explainer speak Spanish, instantly showing future customers that the Baselang method works.
- By having customers describe their experience with the brand, Baselang employs social proof at its finest, instantly boosting trust and communicating the value of its offer.
Establish the Market for Your Product
While in the super-early stages of the buyer’s journey, most customers aren’t looking to buy products. Instead, they’re simply doing what anyone else uses the internet for — looking for information about their pain points or searching for instructions on how to solve a problem.
Considering this type of behaviour, your initial instinct may be to solely focus your awareness stage marketing efforts on educating your audience with high-value information.
But here’s the thing. While your awareness stage customers might not understand that you offer a feasible solution to their pain points, there will come a time in their buyer’s journey when they’ll indubitably start looking for products or services to invest in.
So, instead of waiting for them to slowly move through the sales funnel and hope that you’ll retain their attention through all the stages of the purchase process, produce web content that educates your audience about the broader concepts of your niche — without putting sales pressure on them.
ShopSolar, for instance, employs this strategy to attract and engage early-stage visitors with an educational approach to content. In addition to publishing a ton of insightful blog posts with a strong focus on introducing awareness-stage visitors to the benefits of solar energy, Shop Solar also offers a Solar Mini-Course on its homepage. In this course, the brand educates web visitors while getting an opportunity to mention its products subtly and logically and successfully create a market for them.
Remember That Some Readers Might Be Conversion Targets
Mostly, people in the top stages of the buyer’s journey aren’t ready for a sales pitch (and might even react negatively to one).
However, while producing your awareness stage content, remember that a significant portion of online transactions are impulse purchases — with the average U.S. buyer spending $300 a month on a whim.
So, to shorten the buyer’s journey for awareness-stage consumers, place low-pressure contextual links to your conversion pages.
For instance, if you check out Eachnight’s “Are Memory Foam Mattresses Safe” article, you’ll see that its primary goal is to inform readers about the pros and cons of this commonly used material. But, in addition to all the helpful info, the brand also includes several links targeting conversion-focused pages. Note, however, that these aren’t overt calls to action inviting readers to buy something. Instead, they’re just regular text links, which minimizes the sales pressure while still presenting buyers with the opportunity to purchase if they wish to.
Supplement Written Content with Video
Lastly, as you explore ways to make your site more impactful in the early stages of the buyer’s journey, understand that getting consumers to remember your business and offer depends on how successfully you can get them to engage with your brand.
In other words, when targeting people in the awareness stage, one of your primary goals should be to get people to spend as much time on your site and interact with as much of your content as possible. And the one content format that can help you accomplish this goal is video.
According to research, video is one of the most engaging types of content you can use. Wistia discovered that relevant videos can boost engagement by 1.4x, which is an impressive increase, especially considering that the additional time spent on page maximizes your chances of establishing brand awareness.
So, if you can, find ways to supplement your awareness-stage content — especially blog posts — with video.
You can take inspiration from Somnifix, a brand that does it beautifully in its “5 Unexpected and Surprising Causes of Insomnia” article. In addition to backing up each claim with scientific research and using visuals to illustrate the points, Somnifix also embeds a video by Andrew Huberman in the article. This video is an effective way to provide additional info on the topic. Plus, it’s a 2-in-1 way to increase engagement while also establishing brand credibility via social proof.
There you have it, some of the best strategies you can implement to optimize your website to attract and engage consumers in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey.
Try them all out or pick the tactics that appeal to you the most.
But no matter what you do, remember to track your metrics and see how effectively you capture your target audience’s attention. That will be enough to signal if what you’re doing works or if you need to tweak your approach to increase the efficacy with which you generate brand and product awareness.